Back to the basics
Veggies, fruits, lean protein, and wholesome grains should be the foundation of your diet.
Three meals a day and small, healthy snacks between meals is ideal
Eat foods as close to their natural form as often as possible.
Add flavor with natural herbs, spices, lemon, garlic, onions and pepper rather than salt and sugar!
The Plate method
Half your plate should be full of non-starchy veggies for lunch and dinner with ¼ lean protein and ¼ wholesome grains. Breakfast should include fruit, grain and protein (veggies as desired).
Fit 1-2 more servings of fruit throughout the day.
Learn appropriate portion sizes for fruit, veggie, grains, protein and how to eyeball them when you are out to eat (and box the rest!)
All things in moderation
Most importantly, do indulge, but indulge in moderation. 2-3 desserts a week (pick your days) or smaller dessert every day.
Allow refined grains in place of whole grains on occasion.
Keep it simple
Try to implement back to the basics, natural, the plate method, moderation before you consider supplements, organic foods and free range…. If you can master these and have a well balanced diet you probably don’t need any supplements.
Not every meal has to be a gourmet preparation. Smoothies and salads are extremely quick and easy to throw together for breakfast and lunch. Keep these things on hand at all times.
Different colors, flavors, methods of cooking (grill, stir fry, sauté, boil, bake, braise…).
Try one new fruit, veggie, herb or spice each week.
Vary the fruits, veggies, greens, salad toppings, herbs and spices you buy each time you go to the store so you don’t get bored.
Most of the food you eat in a day should come out of your home. It’s much easier to be conscious about what you eat when you prepare your meals at home. Packing a lunch can save you money and unwanted weight gain from eating out every day.
Avoid mindless eating
Think about how hungry you are, place an appropriate amount of food on your plate and eat until you feel satisfied, not full (it takes a while for your body to register that you are full). Try not to eat straight out of the box, bag or while standing or on the phone, in the car, on the computer, watching tv.
Purposefully prepare your meals and sit down in a pleasant environment with another warm body (dog, cat, human being!) to eat them if possible.
Try not to focus on the numbers
If you find yourself obsessing over the scale, get rid of it and focus on how your clothes fit and how you feel in terms of health, energy and mood.
If you find yourself obsessing over calories, try to focus on natural foods and portions according to the plate method.
Listen to your body
Eat when you are hungry and stop before you are full (it will take a while for your body to register that you are full).
Give in to your cravings, within reason, so they don’t get out of control. Obviously if you are craving a large pizza or a gallon of ice cream you should try to limit this to a few slices or a ½ cup of ice cream.
Drink your water
Getting plenty of fluids keeps our skin glowing and all of our energetic reactions functioning status quo. It also keeps us from feeling hungry longer and keeps us from confusing thirst with hunger. The average person needs about eight 8oz glasses of water daily. Count water in coffee, diet soda and tea. Most sources agree that the water intake outweighs the minimal loss from diuresis with caffeinated beverages. Try to limit caffeinated beverages 1-2 per day. If your goals are weight loss I would highly recommend eliminating caloric beverages from your diet as your first step. These are empty calories that can really add up. There are many options for water: sparkling, carbonated, flavored, filtered tap water in a travel water bottle, bottled. You can add lemon, lime, ginger, orange to flavor sparkling water or a tiny bit of juice to flavor it up without the calories.
Think about what you want to make for breakfast, lunch and dinner this week before you go to the grocery store and make an organized list before you go.
Do Sunday nigh prep for the week if you bring your lunch to work: cook lean protein and chop fruits and veggies to top salads.
If you have leftovers from dinner throw them in a wrap and pair them with a small side salad for the following day’s lunch. Or save some meat to top the next day’s salad.
If you have a reaction to the food, then don’t eat it
Don’t eliminate foods unless there is a good reason. Restriction can lead to cravings and overeating.
Activity is a great adjunct to a healthy diet, not an alternative. If your goals are weight loss, keep in mind that it’s about 90% diet and 10% activity. According to the CDC, adults should be getting about 45 minutes of brisk activity each day and should work all muscle groups weekly doing strength training at least 2 days per week. Whether it’s chasing kids around, walking your dog, walking on your lunch break, walking after dinner or something more intense does not matter a ton. It is most important to get out and get your heart pumping with some cardio activity while doing something that you like.
And last, but definitely not least…..
HEALTHY EATING IS A WAY OF LIFE!!!
It is something that you shape and mold until it is fits into your life and makes you happy. It is having a good relationship with food. It is balanced with healthy foods and indulgent foods. It is fairly constant. It is not a fad diet, a detox or a fast. It does not restrict pizza, pasta, sweets or fried foods (unless there is an allergy/intolerance)! It moderates indulgent foods and emphasizes fresh, wholesome, natural foods. It’s not A DIET, its YOUR DIET!